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Bridge 5/7
If you fit, you are stronger
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    Present-day sportswomen and men spend a lot of time pushing and pulling weights in a gym. The stronger and fitter they are, the better they will play, so the argument goes.
    At the bridge table, rippling muscles do not convey any advantage. But a bridge hand with a fit for partner's suit is stronger than one with no fit.
    Look at this North hand. Your partner opens one heart. What would you respond?
    The bid you must not make is one spade. If you do that and partner rebids, say, two clubs, you would continue with two hearts, which would show only two hearts. This preference bid indicates 6-9 points, but with three or four hearts, you raise immediately.
    Here, if you count shortage points, you get three for your singleton, making your hand worth seven points: sufficient for a raise to two hearts.
    If instead you count losers, you will find nine: two spades, three hearts, one diamond and three clubs. That is the textbook number for a single raise.
    South bids four hearts. How should he plan the play after West leads the club king?
    The careless declarer wins trick one and plays a trump. However, if East, after winning with his ace, returns a club, suddenly South has four unavoidable losers: one spade, one heart and two clubs.
    The more thoughtful declarer realizes he must do something about those club losers now. So, he immediately cashes his ace and king of diamonds, discarding a club from the board. With the loser count down to three, it is time to draw trumps as quickly as possible.
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